1 Another message from the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Son of man, challenge Jerusalem over her disgusting practices. 3 Tell Jerusalem that this is what the Lord God says to her: You really are a Canaanite, both by your birth and parentage. Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite. 4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, and you weren't washed to clean you up, you weren't rubbed with salt, and you weren't wrapped in cloths. 5 No one looked on you with love to do anything like this for you; no one showed any kind of care for you. No, you were thrown away in a field, abandoned and despised from the day you were born.
6 But I passed by and saw you kicking, covered in your own blood. As you were lying there in your blood I told you, ‘I want you to live!’ I said to you right there, ‘I want you to live!’ 7 I help you to grow like a plant in the field. You grew up into a beautiful young woman. Your breasts developed and your body hair grew, and you were completely naked.
8 When I passed by again, I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for lovemaking. So I spread my robe over you* A symbolic declaration of an intent to marry. and covered up your naked body. I committed myself to you and made a solemn agreement with you, and made you mine, declares the Lord God. 9 Then I washed you with water, cleaned off your blood, and anointed you with oil. 10 I put a beautifully embroidered dress on you and gave you fine leather sandals. I clothed you in fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 I gave you jewelry—I put bracelets on your wrists and a necklace around your neck. 12 I put a ring in your nose and earrings on your ears, and placed a beautiful crown on your head.
13 You wore gold and silver jewelry, and your clothes were made of the finest linen, expensive fabric, and embroidered cloth. You ate bread made with the best flour, and honey and olive oil. You grew even more beautiful and became a queen. 14 You were famous around the world because of your beauty, for I used my majestic power to make you so wonderful, declares the Lord God.
15 You were so proud of your beauty that you were unfaithful to me. You thought that because you were so famous you could prostitute yourself and sleep with anyone who passed by. They took your beautiful body for themselves. 16 You made yourself colorful pagan shrines out of the clothes I'd given you, and there you acted as a prostitute. Things like this have never happened before, and they should never happen in the future!
17 You also used the beautiful gold and silver jewelry I gave you to make male idols and you prostituted yourself with them. 18 You used your embroidered clothes to dress them, and you placed before them my olive oil and incense. 19 You presented the food I had given you as an offering for them to accept —bread made from the best flour, olive oil, and honey that I had provided for you to eat. That's exactly what you did, declares the Lord God.
20 You sacrificed your sons and daughters—the children you had for me—offering them as food for idols to eat. Wasn't your prostitution evil enough? 21 You slaughtered my children, sacrificing them to idols.
22 While you were busy with all your disgusting practices and your prostitution, you forgot about the time when you were young, completely naked and lying there kicking in your own blood.
23 Disaster is coming! Disaster is coming on you, declares the Lord God. As well as all the other evil things you did, 24 you built yourself a pagan shrine, a high place of idol worship† “High place of idol worship”: it seems that when constructed in towns these were high platforms where ritual sexual intercourse took place. The Septuagint translates this as “brothel house.” on every public square in the city. 25 You made yourselves high places of idol worship at the top of every street; you degraded yourself, offering your beautiful body to anyone who passed by, opening your legs for them, becoming more and more promiscuous. 26 You gave yourself as a prostitute to your Egyptian neighbors with their large sexual organs, making me angry as you became even more promiscuous.
27 So I acted to reduce my blessings to you.‡ Literally, “your portion.” This could refer to Israel's territory, or to its material possessions, including food. I let your enemies the Philistines do what they wanted to you. Even they were embarrassed at your immorality. 28 Because you weren't satisfied you prostituted yourself with the Assyrians. But even then you weren't satisfied. 29 So you took your promiscuous behavior to Babylonia, the country of merchants, but even then you weren't satisfied!
30 You're really sick-minded to do all this, acting like a prostitute with no shame, declares the Lord God. 31 Actually you weren't even a normal prostitute when you built yourselves pagan shrines at the top of every street and high places of idol worship on every public square—because you refused to be paid for your services!
32 You're a wife that loves adultery! You sleep with strangers instead of your husband! 33 Normally all prostitutes are paid, but you were the one giving gifts to all your lovers. You even bribed them to come from all around and have sex with you. 34 So you're the opposite of other prostitutes. No one comes to you asking for sex, and you pay the prostitute's fee instead of receiving it. You're the exact opposite!
35 So, you prostitute, listen to the message from the Lord! 36 This is what the Lord God says: Because you were so crazy with desire you stripped yourself naked and committed adultery with your lovers and with all your disgusting idols, and because you killed your children as sacrifices to those idols, 37 I'm going to bring together all the lovers you went to bed with, whether you loved them or hated them, and I will have them gather from everywhere around and I will strip you as they watch so they will see you totally naked. 38 I will impose on you the punishment for women who commit adultery and those who murder; you will be punished in passionate anger.
39 Then I will hand you over to your lovers, and they will demolish your pagan shrines and destroy your high places of idol worship.
They will strip you of your clothes, remove your beautiful jewelry, and leave you stark naked. 40 They will come with a mob to attack you. They will stone you and chop you into pieces with their swords. 41 They will burn down your houses and punish you while many women watch.
I will stop your prostitution, and you won't ever pay your lovers again. 42 Then I will finish being jealous and furious with you. I will calm down and won't be angry any more.
43 Since you didn't remember how I looked after you§ “How I looked after you”: supplied for clarity. when you were young, but made me angry with all the things that you did, I will make sure you experience the results of what you've done, declares the Lord God. For this immorality was in addition to all the other disgusting things you did, wasn't it?
44 Everyone who likes to use proverbs will quote this one about you:
‘Like mother, like daughter.’
45 You are the daughter of your mother who detested her husband and children. You are just like her! You are the sister of your sisters, just like them who detested their husbands and children. In fact your mother was a Hittite and your father was an Amorite. 46 Your older sister was Samaria, who lived north of you with her daughters. Your younger sister was Sodom, who lived south of you with her daughters. 47 You didn't just follow their ways and do the same disgusting things they did, you very quickly became even worse than them.
48 As I live, declares the Lord God, your sister Sodom and her daughters didn't ever do what you and your daughters have done. 49 The sins of your sister Sodom were these: She and her daughters were proud, greedy, and lazy. They didn't help the poor and those in need. 50 They became arrogant and did disgusting things in my presence. So I got rid of them when I saw this.
51 Samaria didn't sin half as badly as you did. You have done far more disgusting things than they did. In fact, all the revolting things you've done make your sisters look good! 52 Now you're going to have to put up with your shame, since by your disgraceful sins you made them seem far better. Compared to you they look good! Now you too have to put up with your shame and disgrace because you've made your sisters look as if they were good.
53 Even so I'm going to bring Sodom and her daughters back from exile,* This must be understood figuratively since actual Sodom was destroyed, not exiled. and Samaria and her daughters too. I will bring you back together with them. 54 In this way you will have to put up with your disgrace and be ashamed of all the bad things you did that made them feel better about themselves.
55 Your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will be restored to what they were before. You and your daughters will also be restored to what you were before. 56 Didn't you mock your sister Sodom when you were feeling proud, 57 before you were shown to be so wicked yourselves? Of course now you are mocked by the Edomites† “Edom”: following the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and some Hebrew manuscripts. The Hebrew has “Aram.” The two words vary by only one letter and are easily confused. See footnote to 2 Samuel 8:12 for example. and the surrounding nations, as well as by the Philistines. Everyone around you looks down on you. 58 You will have to experience the consequences of your immorality and your disgusting practices, declares the Lord.
59 This is what the Lord God says: I'm going to punish you according to your sins, because you treated the promise you made with contempt by breaking the agreement. 60 But I won't forget the agreement I made with you when you were young, and I will make an everlasting agreement with you. 61 Then you will remember the way you are meant to live and be ashamed when you meet your older and younger sisters when they return to you. I will give them to you as daughters, even though this was not part of our original agreement.
62 This is how I will endorse my agreement with you, and you will know that I am the Lord, 63 so that you will remember and be ashamed, and won't ever defend your disgraceful behavior when I forgive you for everything you've done, declares the Lord God.”
*16:8 A symbolic declaration of an intent to marry.
†16:24 “High place of idol worship”: it seems that when constructed in towns these were high platforms where ritual sexual intercourse took place. The Septuagint translates this as “brothel house.”
‡16:27 Literally, “your portion.” This could refer to Israel's territory, or to its material possessions, including food.
§16:43 “How I looked after you”: supplied for clarity.
*16:53 This must be understood figuratively since actual Sodom was destroyed, not exiled.
†16:57 “Edom”: following the Septuagint, the Vulgate, and some Hebrew manuscripts. The Hebrew has “Aram.” The two words vary by only one letter and are easily confused. See footnote to 2 Samuel 8:12 for example.